Chargers’ secondary hopes big-name players bring big-time production

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The Los Angeles Chargers’ secondary is stacked with Super Bowl winner Chris Harris Jr., All-Pros Derwin James and Desmond King, and Pro Bowl selection Casey Hayward Jr.

Though they have yet to play a down together, the secondary group already is considered among the NFL’s most dangerous going into the 2020 season.

However, James, a third-year safety, cautioned against overexcitement.

“I feel like it’s just all on paper,” James said. “It looks good, but we got to go out there and perform.”

A 10th-year pro who spent the past nine seasons with the Denver Broncos before signing a two-year, $17 million free-agent contract with the Chargers, Harris is confident about the group’s potential.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who have a lot of talent,” said the All-Pro cornerback, who earned a Super Bowl 50 ring. “Now we’ve just got to put in the work.”

How these pieces — along with cornerback Michael Davis and safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and Nasir Adderley — will fit together remains somewhat of a mystery after teams were forced to forego their routine offseason program in lieu of virtual meetings because of the coronavirus pandemic.2

No positions have officially been assigned and Chargers coach Anthony Lynn doesn’t expect starters to be named until training nike nfl jersey

After a 5-11, last-place season, Lynn pointed to one specific area that contributed to the disappointing year: turnovers. The Chargers committed too many on offense with 31, which ranked 29th in the NFL, and didn’t create nearly enough on defense.

“You’re not going to win games like that,” Lynn said. “That’s pretty simple.”

The Chargers ranked last in the league last season with 14 takeaways. They intercepted 11 passes (ranked 22nd), forced a league-low six fumbles and only recovered three of them (32nd).

There’s no exact science to creating turnovers, according to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who said turnovers tend to fluctuate season to season. Case in point: in 2017, the Chargers created 27 turnovers, ranking sixth, and forced 20 in 2018, ranking 16th.

Bradley, however, is certain that the Chargers can help their turnover margin by applying more pressure to quarterbacks. Last season, the Bolts had a pass rush win rate of 45.4%, which ranked 11th in the league, according to ESPN metrics powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, but they ranked 28th in sacks with 30.

“If you affect the quarterback, it gives you a better chance to getting more takeaways,” Bradley said. “So that’s the challenge for us, is up front as a whole defense.”

The Chargers return standout defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III, plus added veteran tackle Linval Joseph on a two-year, $17 million free-agent deal. But the spotlight remains on their crowded, star-studded secondary.